British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry
Detailed Description - Decks and Accommodation
The Boat Deck was an uncovered deck, on which the boats were placed. At its lowest point it was about 92 ft. 6 in. above the keel. The overall length of this deck was about 500 ft. The forward end of it was fitted to serve as the navigating bridge of the vessel and was 190 ft. from the bow. On the after end of the bridge was a wheel house, containing the steering wheel and a steering compass. The chart room was immediately abaft this. On the starboard side of the wheel house and funnel casing were the navigating room, the captain's quarters, and some officers' quarters. On the port side were the remainder of the officers' quarters. At the middle line abaft the forward funnel casing were the wireless telegraphy rooms and the operators' quarters. The top of the officers' house formed a short deck. The connections from the Marconi aerials were made on this deck, and two of the collapsible boats were placed on it. Aft of the officers' house were the first class passengers' entrance and stairways, and other adjuncts to the passengers' accommodation below. These stairways had a minimum effective width of 8 ft. They had assembling landings at the level of each deck, and three elevators communicating from E to A decks, but not to the Boat deck, immediately on the fore side of the stairway.
All the boats except two Engelhardt life rafts were carried on this deck. There were seven lifeboats on each side, 30 ft. long, 9 ft. wide. There was an emergency cutter, 25 ft. long, on each side at the fore end of the deck. Abreast of each cutter was an Engelhardt life raft. One similar raft was carried on the top of the officers' house on each side. In all there were 14 lifeboats, 2 cutters, and 4 Engelhardt life rafts.
The forward group of four boats and one Engelhardt raft were placed on each side of the deck alongside the officers' quarters and the first class entrance. Further aft at the middle line on this deck was the special platform for the standard compass. At the after end of this deck was an entrance house for second class passengers, with a stairway and elevator leading directly down to F deck. There were two vertical iron ladders at the after-end of this deck, leading to A deck, for the use of the crew. Alongside and immediately forward of the second class entrance was the after group of lifeboats, four on each side of the ship.
In addition to the main stairways mentioned, there was a ladder on each side amidships, giving access from the A deck below. At the forward end of the Boat deck there was on each side a ladder leading up from A deck, with a landing there, from which, by a ladder, access to B deck could be obtained direct. Between the reciprocating engine casing and the third funnel casing there was a stewards' stairway, which communicated with all the decks below as far as E deck. Outside the deck houses was promenading space for first class passengers.
- A Deck. - The next deck below the Boat deck was A deck. It extended over a length of about 500 feet. On this deck was a long house, extending nearly the whole length of the deck. It was of irregular shape, varying in width from 24 ft. to 72 ft. At the forward end it contained 34 state-rooms, and abaft these a number of public rooms, etc., for first class passengers, including two first class entrances and stairway, reading room, lounge and the smoke room. Outside the deck house was a promenade for first class passengers. The forward end of it on both sides of the ship, below the forward group of boats and for a short distance further aft, was protected against the weather by a steel screen, 192 ft. long, with large windows in it. In addition to the stairway described on the Boat deck, there was near the after-end of the A deck, and immediately forward of the first class smoke room, another first class entrance, giving access as far down as C deck. The second class stairway the after-end of this deck (already described under the Boat deck) had no exit on to the A deck. The stewards' staircase opened on to this deck.
- B Deck. - The next lowest deck was B deck, which constituted the top deck of the strong structure of the vessel, the decks above and the side plating between them being light plating. This deck extended continuously for 550 ft. There were breaks or wells both forward and aft of it, each about 50 ft. long. It was terminated by a poop and forecastle. On this deck were placed the principal staterooms of the vessel, 97 in number, having berths for 198 passengers, and aft of these was the first class stairway and reception room, as well as the restaurant for first class passengers and its pantry and galley. Immediately aft of this restaurant were the second class stairway and smoke room. At the forward end of the deck outside the house was an assembling area, giving access by the ladders, previously mentioned, leading directly to the Boat deck. From this same space a ladderway led to the forward third class promenade on C deck. At the after-end of it were two ladders giving access to the after third class promenade on C deck. At the after-end of this deck, at the middle line, was placed another second class stairway, which gave access to C, D, E, F and G decks.
At the forward end of the vessel, on the level of the B deck, was situated the forecastle deck, which was 125 ft. long. On it were placed the gear for working the anchors and cables and for warping (or moving) the ship in dock. At the after-end, on the same level, was the poop deck, about 105 ft. long, which carried the after-warping appliances and was a third class promenading space. Arranged above the poop was a light docking bridge, with telephone, telegraphs, etc., communicating to the main navigating bridge forward.
- C Deck. - The next lowest deck was C deck. This was the highest deck which extended continuously from bow to stern. At the forward end of it, under the forecastle, was placed the machinery required for working the anchors and cables and for the warping of the ship referred to on B deck above: there were also the crew's galley and the seamen's and firemen's mess room accommodation, where their meals were taken. At the after-end of the forecastle, at each side of the ship, were the entrances to the third class spaces below. On the port side, at the extreme after-end and opening on to the deck, was the lamp room. The break in B deck between the forecastle and the first class passenger quarters formed a well about 50 ft. in length, which enabled the space under it on C deck to be used as a third class promenade. This space contained two hatchways, the No. 2 hatch and the bunker hatch. The latter of these hatchways gave access to the space allotted to the first and second class baggage hold, the mails, specie and parcel room, and to the lower hold, which was used for cargo or coals. Abaft of this well there was a house 450 ft. long and extending for the full breadth of the ship. It contained 148 staterooms for first class, besides service rooms of various kinds. On this deck, at the forward first class entrance, were the purser's office and the enquiry office, where passengers' telegrams were received for sending by the Marconi apparatus. Exit doors through the ship's side were fitted abreast of this entrance. Abaft the after-end of this long house was a promenade at the ship's side for second class passengers, sheltered by bulwarks and bulkheads. In the middle of the promenade stood the second class library. The two second class stairways were at the ends of the library, so that from the promenade access was obtained at each end to a second class main stairway. There was also access by a door from this space into each of the alleyways in the first class accommodation on each side of the ship, and by two doors at the after-end into the after-well. This after-well was about 50 ft. in length and contained two hatchways called No. 5 and No. 6 hatches. Abaft this well, under the poop, was the main third class entrance for the after-end of the vessel, leading directly down to G deck, with landings and access at each deck. The effective width of this stairway was 16 ft. to E deck. From E to F it was 8 ft. wide. Aft of this entrance on B deck were the third class smoke room and the general room. Between these rooms and the stern was the steam steering gear and the machinery for working the after capstan gear, which was used for warping the after-end of the vessel. The steam steering gear had three cylinders. The engines were in duplicate, to provide for the possibility of breakdown of one set.
- D Deck. - The general height from D deck to C deck was 10 ft. 6 in., this being reduced to 9 ft. at the forward end, and 9 ft. 6 in. at the after end, the taper being obtained gradually by increasing the sheer of the D deck. The forward end of this deck provided accommodation for 108 firemen, who were in two separate watches. There was the necessary lavatory accommodation, abaft the firemen's quarters at the sides of the ship. On each side of the middle line immediately abaft the firemen's quarters there was a vertical spiral staircase leading to the forward end of a tunnel, immediately above the tank top, which extended from the foot of the staircase to the forward stokehole, so that the firemen could pass direct to their work without going through any passenger accommodation or over any passenger decks. On D deck abaft of this staircase was the third class promenade space which was covered in by C deck. From this promenade space there were four separate ladderways with two ladders, 4 ft. wide to each. One ladderway on each side forward led to C deck, and one, the starboard, led to E deck and continued to F deck as a double ladder and to G deck as a single ladder. The two ladder ways at the after end led to E deck on both sides and to F deck on the port side. Abaft this promenade space came a block of 50 first class staterooms. This surrounded the forward funnel. The main first class reception room and dining saloon were aft of these rooms and surrounded the No. 2 funnel. The reception room and staircase occupied 83 ft. of the length of the ship. The dining saloon occupied 112 ft., and was between the second and third funnels. Abaft this came the first class pantry, which occupied 56 ft. of the length of the ship. The reciprocating engine hatch came up through this pantry.
Aft of the first class pantry, the galley, which provides for both first and second class passengers, occupied 45 ft. of the length of the ship. Aft of this were the turbine engine hatch and the emergency dynamos. Abaft of and on the port side of this hatch were the second class pantry and other spaces used for the saloon service of the passengers. On the starboard side abreast of these there was a series of rooms used for hospitals and their attendants. These spaces occupied about 54 ft. of the length. Aft of these was the second class saloon occupying 70 ft. of the length. In the next 88 ft. of length there were 38 second class rooms and the necessary baths and lavatories. From here to the stern was accommodation for third class passengers and the main third class lavatories for the passengers in the after end of the ship. The watertight bulkheads come up to this deck throughout the length from the stern as far forward as the bulkhead dividing the after boiler room from the reciprocating engine room. The watertight bulkhead of the two compartments abaft the stern was, carried up to this deck.
- E Deck. - The watertight bulkheads, other than those mentioned as extending to D deck, all stopped at this deck. At the forward end was provided accommodation for three watches of trimmers, in three separate compartments, each holding 24 trimmers. Abaft this, on the port side, was accommodation for 44 seamen. Aft of this, and also on the starboard side of it, were the lavatories for crew and third class passengers; further aft again came the forward third class lavatories. Immediately aft of this was a passageway right across the ship communicating directly with the ladderways leading to the decks above and below and gangway doors in the ship's side. This passage was 9 ft. wide at the sides and 15 ft. at the centre of the ship.
From the after end of this cross passage main alleyways on each side of the ship ran right through to the after end of the vessel. That on the port side was about 8 1/2 ft. wide. It was the general communication passage for the crew and third class passengers and was known as the "working passage." In this passage at the centre line in the middle of the length of the ship direct access was obtained to the third class dining rooms on the deck below by means of a ladderway 20 ft. wide. Between the working passage and the ship's side was the accommodation for the petty officers, most of the stewards, and the engineers' mess room. This accommodation extended for 475 ft. From this passage access was obtained to both engine rooms and the engineers' accommodation, some third class lavatories and also some third class accommodation at the after end. There was another cross passage at the end of this accommodation about 9 ft. wide, terminating in gangway doors on each side of the ship. The port side of it was for third class passengers and the starboard for second class. A door divided the parts, but it could be opened for any useful purpose, or for an emergency. The second class stairway leading to the Boat deck was in the cross passage way.
The passage on the starboard side ran through the first and then the second class accommodation, and the forward main first class stairway and elevators extended to this deck, whilst both the second class main stairways were also in communication with this starboard passage. There were four first class, eight first or second alternatively, and 19 second class rooms leading off this starboard passage.
The remainder of the deck was appropriated to third class accommodation. This contained the bulk of the third class accommodation. At the forward end of it was the accommodation for 53 firemen constituting the third watch. Aft of this in three watertight compartments there was third class accommodation extending to 147 ft. In the next watertight compartment were the swimming bath and linen rooms. In the next watertight compartments were stewards' accommodation on the port side, and the Turkish baths on the starboard side. The next two watertight compartments each contained a third class dining room.
The third class stewards' accommodation, together with the third class galley and pantries, filled the watertight compartment. The engineers' accommodation was in the next compartment directly alongside the casing of the reciprocating engine room. The next three compartments were allotted to 64 second class staterooms. These communicated direct with the second class main stairways. The after compartments contained third class accommodation. All spaces on this deck had direct ladderway communication with the deck above, so that if it became necessary to close the watertight doors in the bulkheads an escape was available in all cases. On this deck in way of the boiler rooms were placed the electrically-driven fans which provided ventilation to the stokeholds.
- G Deck. - The forward end of this deck had accommodation for 15 leading firemen and 30 greasers. The next watertight compartment contained third class accommodation in 26 rooms for 106 people. The next watertight compartment contained the first class baggage room, the post office accommodation, a racquet court, and seven third class rooms for 34 passengers. From this point to the after end of the boiler room the space was used for the 'tween deck bunkers. Alongside the reciprocating engine room were the engineers' stores and workshop. Abreast of the turbine engine room were some of the ship's stores. In the next watertight compartment abaft the turbine room were the main body of the stores. The next two compartments were appropriated to 186 third class passengers in 60 rooms; this deck was the lowest on which any passengers or crew were carried.
- Below G Deck. - were two partial decks, the Orlop and Lower Orlop decks, the latter extending only through the forepeak and No. 1 hold; on the former deck, abaft the turbine engine room, were some store rooms containing stores for ship's use.
Below these decks again came the inner bottom, extending fore and aft through about nine-tenths of the vessel's length, and on this were placed the boilers, main and auxiliary machinery and the electric light machines. In the remaining spaces below G deck were cargo holds or 'tween decks, seven in all, six forward and one aft. The firemen's passage, giving direct access from their accommodation to the forward boiler room by stairs at the forward end, contained the various pipes and valves connected with the pumping arrangements at the forward end of the ship, and also the steam pipes conveying steam to the windlass gear forward and exhaust steam pipes leading from winches and other deck machinery. It was made thoroughly watertight throughout its length, and at its after-end was closed by a watertight vertical sliding door of the same character as other doors on the inner bottom. Special arrangements were made for pumping this space out, if necessary. The pipes were placed in this tunnel to protect them from possible damage by coal or cargo, and also to facilitate access to them.
On the decks was provided generally, in the manner above described, accommodation for a maximum number of 1,034 first class passengers, and at the same time 510 second class passengers and 1,022 third class passengers. Some of the accommodation was of an alternative character, and could be used for either of two classes of passengers. In the statement of figures the higher alternative class has been reckoned. This makes a total accommodation for 2,566 passengers.
Accommodation was provided for the crew as follows; about 75 of the deck department, including officers and doctors, 326 of the engine room department, including engineers, and 544 of the victualling department, including pursers and leading stewards.
Access of passengers to the Boat deck. - The following routes led directly from the various parts of the first class passenger accommodation to the Boat deck: From the forward ends of A, B, C, D, and E decks by the staircase in the forward first class entrance direct to the Boat deck. The elevators led from the same decks as far as A deck, where further access was obtained by going up the top flight of the main staircase.
The same route was available for first class passengers forward of midships on B, C, and E decks.
First class passengers abaft amidships on B and C decks could use the staircase in the after main entrance to A deck, and then could pass out on to the deck, and by the midships stairs besides the house ascend to the Boat deck. They could also use the stewards' staircase between the reciprocating engine casing and Nos. 1 and 2 boiler casing, which led direct to the Boat deck. This last route was also available for passengers on E deck in the same divisions who could use the forward first class main stairway and elevators.
Second class passengers on D deck could use their own after-stairway to B deck, and could then pass up their forward stairway to the Boat deck, or else could cross their saloon and use the same stairway throughout.
Of the second class passengers on E deck, those abreast of the reciprocating engine casing, unless the watertight door immediately abaft them was closed, went aft and joined the other second class passengers. If, however, the watertight door at the end of their compartment was closed, they passed through an emergency door into the engine room, and directly up to the Boat deck, by the ladders and gratings in the engine room casing.
The second class passengers on E deck in the compartment abreast the turbine casing on the starboard side, and also those on F deck on both sides below could pass through M watertight bulkhead to the forward second class main stairway. If this door were closed, they could pass by the stairway up to the serving space at the forward end of the second class saloon, and go into the saloon and thence up the forward second class stairway.
Passengers between M and N bulkheads on both E and F decks could pass directly up to the forward second class stairway to the Boat deck.
Passengers between N and O bulkheads on D, E, F and G decks could pass by the after second class stairway to B deck, and then cross to the forward second class stairway and go up to the Boat deck.
Third class passengers at the fore end of the vessel could pass by the staircases to C deck in the forward well and by ladders on the port and starboard sides at the forward end of the deck houses, thence direct to the Boat deck outside the officers' accommodation. They might also pass along the working passage on E deck and through the emergency door to the forward first class main stairway, or through the door on the same deck at the forward end of the first class alleyway and up the first class stairway direct to the Boat deck.
The third class passengers at the after-end of the ship passed up their stairway to E deck, and into the working passage, and through the emergency doors to the two second class stairways, and so to the Boat deck, like second class passengers. Or, alternatively, they could continue up their own stairs and entrance to C deck, thence by the two ladders at the after-end of the bridge on to the B deck, and thence by the forward second class stairway direct to the Boat deck.
Crew. - From each boiler room an escape or emergency ladder was provided direct to the Boat deck by the fidleys, in the boiler casings, and also into the working passage on E deck, and thence by the stair immediately forward of the reciprocating engine casing, direct to the Boat deck.
From both the engine rooms ladders and gratings gave direct access to the Boat deck.
From the electric engine room, the after tunnels, and the forward pipe tunnels, escapes were provided direct to the working passage on E deck, and thence by one of the several routes already detailed from that space.
From the crew's quarters they could go forward by their own staircases into the forward well, and thence, like the third class passengers, to the Boat deck.
The stewards' accommodation being all connected to the working passage or the forward main first class stairway, they could use one of the routes from thence.
The engineers' accommodation also communicated with the working passage, but, as it was possible for them to be shut between two watertight bulkheads, they had also a direct route by the gratings in the engine room casing to the Boat deck.
On all the principal accommodation decks the alleyways and stairways provided a ready means of access to the Boat deck, and there were clear deck spaces in way of all first, second and third class main entrances and stairways on Boat deck and all decks below.